France Produces Too Much Wine: Government Allocates 200 million Euros To Destroy Surplus

The Paris government is allocating 200 million euros for the so-called “emergency distillation.” The surplus of wine reached 300 million liters. In addition, wine producers will be asked to reduce the area of vineyards.

A famous saying goes: “Whoever does not love wine, the Lord will take away his water.” The French love wine, but they have found that the country produces too much of it. The overproduction was caused by a number of factors, including increasing competition in the market, the economic crisis, problems related to the Covid pandemic, and changing consumer habits. In France, falling demand has hit winegrowers in the Bordeaux and Languedoc regions so hard that the French government has come up with an unprecedented financial initiative: 200 million euros will be allocated, but not for promoting French wine in the world, but for its destruction. More precisely, it is proposed to process it into ethanol and supply it to the French perfume industry.

The statistics are troubling: in the decade from 2012 to 2022, French wine consumption fell by 32 percent, with red wine affected the most. According to the Financial Times, “France’s agriculture minister has received a green light from the European Commission and can now allocate 200 million euros to help producers start the so-called emergency ethanol distillation.” But the initiative does not end there: additional funds will be allocated to push winemakers to reduce vineyards.

As French Minister of Agriculture Marc Fesno explained to reporters, “funds for the ‘emergency distillation’ of excess stocks will be aimed at stopping the collapse in prices and helping wine producers to find sources of income.” France is projected to have a surplus of 300 million liters of wine in 2023, which is about 400 million bottles.

The 200 million euros allocated by Paris should allow winemakers to distill excess wine into pure alcohol, which can later be sold – unfortunately, at a loss anyway – to manufacturers of perfumes, hand sanitizers, and other medical and household products. French wine expert Elizabeth Carter told the Washington Post that “France has been struggling with excess wine consumption and export for years, while a radical decision to reduce excess volume should help support prices.”

France is one of the largest wine producing countries in the world. Since the 1930s, strict laws have guaranteed the quality of French wines. French production includes more than 200 local varieties of wine, including Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. According to Ibis World research company, “France’s wine market is estimated at about $15.6 billion, while wine and spirits exports reached $18.5 billion last year.”